“Ewwwww. What’s that smell?” Charlotte sniffed the air. “I smell pee. Bernadine, I bet there is boy’s PEE on your shoe! Gross!”
Some of the other kids started laughing. Ms Crabbe was up at the front of the group talking loudly about the importance of fresh air and brisk walks. She was not paying attention to the little group of kids who were now around Bernadine whispering “Ewwwwww….Bernadine has pee on her shoe...that’s gross...bet there are germs crawling all over her feet.”
Bernadine’s face was bright red now and she really, really just wanted to be back at home in her warm, safe house with her dolls and her books and...her mom. She was tired of all of this and just wanted to go home. Ms Crabbe was now telling everyone to split into two groups and line up across from each other. “We are going to play a fun game that I remember playing as a child called Red Rover!” It involved each team lining up across from each other holding hands tight. One team would call out “Red Rover, Red Rover we call somebody over” but they would actually say somebody’s name and then that kid would have to run as fast and as hard as they could at the other team to try to break through their line. Bernadine did not like the sound of this game. It sounded rough and mean and maybe a little scary. And to make matters worse, Bernadine and Charlotte were on the same team. Charlotte immediately started acting like she was captain of the team even though nobody said anything about a captain. Yet she started ordering everyone around telling this person to hold hands with that person, and which person should stand where. Naturally, she was going to hold hands with Sally and Jessica. But when Bernadine tried to fit into the line, Charlotte said “No, Bernadine. Nobody wants to hold hands with someone that’s got pee on them, that’s not fair. Go stand at the end of the line by Billy.”
Now Billy got all mad looking and said “What! Why? I am not holding hands with her!” Charlotte said “Just pretend to hold her hand...hold her sleeve...and don’t breathe through your nose, then you won’t smell her yucky shoes.”
That was it. Bernadine had had enough. There was no stupid pee on her shoe. It’s not the like the boy’s bathroom floor was covered in pee. It’s not like her shoe was in the toilet. It wasn’t even wet! Bernadine was mad, like, really, really mad..she felt like she couldn’t catch her breath. Ms Crabbe had finished talking to the other team and was now calling out for Bernadine’s team to get into line. “Bernadine, go to the end of the line!” Charlotte snapped quickly.
“What? What did you just say” Charlotte looked surprised. Everyone in the line looked surprised. It suddenly got very quiet.
“I said no. I don’t have to listen to you. You are not the boss of me, you are not the boss of anybody.” Bernadine started walking towards Charlotte. Her voice was quiet at first but getting louder as she got closer to Charlotte. Charlotte let go of the other girls and put her hands on her hips and started to say “Bernadine, nobody wants pee on their….”
That was it. Before Bernadine even thought about what she was doing or the trouble she would get into for doing it, she had taken her shoe off and whipped it at Charlotte. It hit Charlotte in the leg, but just barely, Bernadine was never very good at baseball but Charlotte looked stunned. “There, now there’s pee on YOUR leg” Bernadine said and some of the other kids laughed.
Charlotte was dead quiet for a second then suddenly dropped to ground, crying without tears and screaming “owwww, owww, owwwwww, Bernadine just hit meeeee” Ms Crabbe was yelling, Sally and Jessica were trying to help the injured and hysterical Charlotte to her feet and the other kids were now running around and playing “tag, you’ve got pee germs!” It was complete and utter chaos.
Bernadine picked up her shoe, put it back on and walked back to room 3b. She could hear Ms Crabbe yelling at her to come back, but she didn’t really want to. She was going to go back to her class, sit at her desk with her favorite journal and favorite pencil, put her head down on her arms and have a little cry.